Connatix, traditionally known as a publisher-first video company, recently moved heavier to support demand—software and other platforms that let brands buy ad inventory.
Investments in the demand side of Connatix’s business continue to rise amid 327% year-over-year growth in ad spend from brands and agencies, as well as “significant” funding from Court Square Capital Partner in July 2021.
Today, the company will announce the appointment of Mel Bessaha to senior vice president of demand at Connatix.
Bessaha will drive, lead, and scale revenue channels and relationships for Connatix’s programmatic demand partnerships and client base. He comes to Connatix from LoopMe where he serves as senior vice president of Revenue. There he introduced brands to the platform and deepened existing relationships with partners, providing digital advertising solutions. Prior to LoopMe, Bessaha held roles at LoopMe, Dailymotion, Collective Media, and AdColony.
Search & Performance Marketing Daily caught up with Bessaha to ask about his new role at Connatix, future plans, and what makes him tick. Delving into his personal life provide insight into the person.
Search & Performance Marketing Daily: What does it mean to drive, lead and scale revenue channels and relationships?
Bessaha: It basically means meeting the needs and wants of customers in the marketplace with solutions that deliver on outcomes. It also means building trust with those customers and ensuring their experience working with our team is of a high standard of quality. It should be quite clear why they are working with us.
S&PMD: What is the biggest challenge during the remainder of the year?
Bessaha: I would say Connatix has been in a pretty great position in light of significant headwinds posed by the pandemic. I’d say our biggest challenge is ensuring we’re continuing to build up the brand equity around our demand side efforts, especially how we’re deftly addressing the market need for a solution that couples scalable in-player contextual targeting with high quality video content and creative
S&PMD: How do you hope to solve that challenge?
Bessaha: We’ve been fortunate to have recently received a significant investment from private equity firm Court Square Capital Partners, which will provide us with ample resources to amplify our presence in key markets and drive innovation around our key focus areas for the demand side of the business.
S&PMD: What's missing from programmatic advertising today and how do you hope to solve that?
Bessaha: The obvious answer is more transparency and suitable replacement for the current identifiers that many advertisers, media providers and tech platforms are still reliant on. At Connatix, we are continuing to build up our contextual targeting capabilities and using machine learning and natural language processing to gather greater insights about publishers’ video libraries that can be used for more advanced targeting.
S&PMD: What is the best piece of advice you received related to your career, and who told it to you?
Bessaha: My father always told me to persevere through challenges, it’s always how people press on and overcome that most people remember and appreciate. My mother would follow that up with the fact that one should always try to surround themselves with people of quality to help along the way. Show me your friends and I’ll show you your future kind of thing.
S&PMD: When you were in high school, what did you want to be when you grew up?
Bessaha: I’ve always had an avid interest in technology. When I was in high school the internet had started to cement its place in society and in our lives. I revered the pantheon of tech leaders, some of which are obviously still influential - Jobs, Gates, Dell, Case, Yang, Ellison, etc. I never thought I’d ever reach that level, but hoped to play a part in building the ecosystem they’ve built up over the years.
S&PMD: How does your childhood dream relate to what you do today?
Bessaha: I’ve been fortunate to have worked at some great companies and taken leadership roles at a couple, like AdColony and Connatix. They’re both very important and influential companies composed of highly talented people.
S&PMD: What is your favorite character in a fiction book and why?
Bessaha: I’m a huge fan of George RR Martin’s "Game of Thrones" saga and take pride in the fact that I had discovered those books prior to the HBO series, which was pretty close to the source material. Jon Snow would have to be my favorite, but more so how he’s portrayed in the novels.